Eni to invest $8 billion to boost production in Libya
MILAN - Reuters
A worker adjusts the valve of an oil pipe at a oil refinery in Zawiya in Libya. Italy’s Eni plans to invest $8 billion in Libya over the next 10 years.Italy’s Eni plans to invest $8 billion in Libya over the next 10 years to develop its upstream business as it moves to strengthen its grip as the leading international oil and gas producer in the country.
In a statement on Dec. 16, Eni said its Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni had presented the plan to Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan and Petroleum Minister Abdelbari al-Arusion in Tripoli.
Concerns over Berlusconi’s support
The investments are designed to develop ongoing production as well as new exploration activities, it said. Eni, which has operated in Libya since 1959, had to halt production early in 2011 after civil war broke out.
Some analysts expressed concern at the time a new Libyan government could punish Eni because of lukewarm support offered by the then center-right government of Silvio Berlusconi to the opponents of the former regime of Moammar Gadhafi.
Eni said the Libyan prime minister had also asked Eni at the meeting if it was prepared to develop new projects in the downstream sector “in conjunction with the new branch of the National Oil Corporation, which will be based in Benghazi.” The city of Benghazi was the stronghold of the former Libyan rebels in their struggle against the Tripoli-based Gadhafi regime. Eni, which produces about one third of Libya’s total output, was the first international company to resume production in September last year and currently produces 80 percent of pre-war output of roughly 280,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
The state-controlled major has oil production contracts in Libya that are in force until 2042 and gas contracts in force until 2047.